Priest's killer saw how to use gun on TV

2012-02-21 22:10
Pretoria - He had seen on television how to cock a firearm, but did not know what happened when he shot a Diepsloot priest to death, a 20-year-old killer told the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Nelson Malope, who was last year sentenced to 18 years imprisonment for murdering and robbing Diepsloot Catholic priest, Father Louis Blondel, 70, on December 7, 2009, testified for the State in the trial of four of his friends.

Kgaugelo Manzini, Thembalethu Sindane, Freddy Mahlangu and Jabu Ndebele, all aged between 18 and 22, have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Malope testified he and the four accused had planned to rob the presbytery in Diepsloot because they had an "order" for a computer.

He said Mahlangu had bought a firearm at a shebeen. They decided to take it along during the robbery.

"Our plan was not to use the firearm, just to go and take those things we wanted. We were just going to scare the person at the house to give us what we want."

Malope testified that the five of them had jumped over the wall at the presbytery and that he and Sindane had climbed into the house through a window that was not properly closed.

In one of the rooms they found a man asleep.

Sindane pulled the blanket off the man, who woke up. Malope cocked the firearm and pointed it at the man, as he had seen on television. The man was forced to open the door to let in the other three attackers and told them the computer was in his room.

While the four accused went with the man to fetch the computer, Malope looked to see if there were other people in the house.

"When I opened the door the person was near the door listening to us.

"I pointed the firearm at him. It was dark. As I was pointing the firearm at him I was also scared. I don't know what happened. A gunshot went off. I left and stood near the door outside. The others followed me," Malope testified.

He said he did not remove anything from the house, but saw Manzini carrying a computer box and Ndebele a screen.

Sindane later showed him a silver watch he had taken. He later heard that a cellphone and R50 in cash had also been stolen. Afterwards, they went to Sindane's place and stashed the loot.

Police found the watch and a firearm in Malope's possession during his arrest two days later. He said it had been their plan that someone would come and fetch the computer.

A statement by Father Blondel's colleague, Father Guido Bourgeois, was handed in as evidence on Monday.

The prosecution told the court Bourgeois was very old, had suffered a stroke and had returned to Canada since.

The trial continues.

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